Our prediction for this Europa League match:
All eyes will be on Stadio Olimpico when Benfica and Arsenal take on each other in the Europa League last 32, first leg. The Eagles are undefeated in the Europa League this season, with the team scoring goals for fun on home soil. However, home win should not be considered as Jorge Jesus have been struggling to find their best form in the Primeira Liga of late. Both Almeida and Jardel are likely to miss the game with injuries.
The Gunners, on the other hand, impressed in a 4-2 win over Leeds United, with the team regaining a much-needed confidence. Since Mikel Arteta is likely to count on key players for Thursday’s showdown, we are tempted to put our money on the Premier League side. Midfielder Thomas Partey is out of contention with a hamstring injury, while defender Kieran Tierney remains on the sidelines with a calf problem.
Highlighted Player (Jan Vertonghen):
After spending four years at Ajax, in 2006 Jan Vertonghen signed a loan deal with RKC Waalwijk. The left-footed defender spent one season at Mandemakers Stadion and he returned to Ajax for the 2007/2008 season. The highly rated footballer, who is capable of playing as both centre back and left back, signed a deal with Tottenham Hotspur on 8 July, 2012 and he has been playing for the Premier League outfit ever since.
The Belgian defender scored four goals for the Spurs in the 2012/2013 Premier League season and he made 34 league appearances for the White Hart Lane outfit back then. In the 2015/2016 season Jan Vertonghen and his teammates were producing brilliant displays with Tottenham, but the Spurs eventually finished the campaign in third place in the standings.
Speaking of his international career, Vertonghen made it to both World Cup (2014) and Euro (2016) quarter-finals with the Belgian national team. Jan was born on 24 April, 1987 and his shirt number is 5.
Highlighted Team (Arsenal):
Arsenal are regarded as one of the best English teams. The Gunners have won 12 FA Cup trophies, 13 league titles and two League Cups, but they have yet to lift the Champions League trophy. Arsene Wenger’s team were on the verge of beating Barcelona in the Champions League final back in 2006, but they eventually failed to win the prestigious title.
Arsenal used to play their homes at Highbury, but in 2006 they moved to the Emirates Stadium. The capacity of the stadium is 60,260. The Gunners won their last Premier League trophy back in 2004, with the capital club going through the season without a single loss. The likes of Thierry Henry, Denis Bergkamp and Robert Pires were part of the team back then, but Arsenal have not won the league trophy ever since.
Arsenal was founded by Woolwich munitions workers as Dial Square back in 1886. It is well known that Tottenham Hotspur are Arsenal’s fiercest rivals and there have always been fireworks when the two local rivals meet in the North London derby.